I am beginning to think that I need to be treated, or counselled, over my O.B.E. Not the gong in its velvet box that Her Majesty is doubtless buffing-up as I write, but Old Brand Excess. This morning the post lady knocked on the door and handed me my latest e-bay purchase. Although wrapped in an old bin bag held together with parcel tape, it was unmistakably jug shaped. 'Guess what this is then?' I said, holding it up. 'Looks like a jug to me' she replied, 'But then I don't suppose it's that simple'. How right she was. I had bid for, and obviously won because who else would want it, a big green metal oil pourer with 'Agricastrol Tractor Oil' on it. It's rusty, and the logo's virtually worn off on one side. I think it's beautiful, but as I'm too embarrassed to show it here I demonstrate the point I'm struggling to make by showing you my Sunday lunch table. There's the Hook Norton jug, full of gravy, and my Colman's Mustard jar with the lid broken when I sent it flying across the kitchen when I burnt my hand on the Le Creuset griddle. There I go again. Couldn't just say 'frying pan'. Anyway, there we are. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a big bunch of yellow flowers to stick in the Castrol jug, so that to the casual observer there appears to be at least some vestige of reason to it all.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)